Peninsula review: Predictable plot, but exciting action sequences make this zombie film interesting

A zombie infection ravages South Korea (the North is supposedly safer), but a guilt-ridden soldier-survivor returns to the wasteland to retrieve a truck stashed with cash. His mission is fraught with danger posed by bloodthirsty mercenaries, not to speak of the cannibalistic ghouls.

The 2016 predecessor of this horror actioner, Train to Busan, was set in the claustrophobic confines of a fast train from the South Korean capital of Seoul to Busan. Now, director Yeon Sang-ho, who also wrote the screenplay of the sequel, propels the story to the broader, bleaker canvas of an apocalypse, which promises a redemption of sorts for Captain Jung-seok (Gang Dong-won). He had disregarded desperate people pleading for help only to witness his sister being cannibalised by his nephew on a Japan-bound ferry. It is a heart-rending sight, as pitiable as that of the wretched, writhing zombies on the road to perdition.

Fast forward by four years to Hong Kong, where the good Captain consents to an offer to return to the devastated port of Incheon for a $20 million bounty stashed in an abandoned truck. He gets to keep half. Will he succeed? His widowed brother-in-law (Kim Do-yoon) is watching his back. But, antagonists abound in the shape of a rogue militia with a sick agenda of its own.

Needless to say, the sequel evokes memories of Mad Max and 28 Days. The plot may be a tad predictable, but the exciting action pieces are well-executed and the themes of family and forgiveness, commendable. The film has Korean and English dialogues, plus English subtitles, and was announced as an official Cannes Film Festival 2020 Selection.

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Title: Peninsula

Director: Yeon Sang-ho

Cast: Gang Dong-won, Kim Do-yoon, Lee Jung-hyun, Kwon Hae-hyo, Lee Ra, Lee Ye-won, Koo Gyo-hwan, Kim Min-jae

Rating: 3.5 stars

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